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Gertrude Jekyll and Astleham Garden: Inspiring Arts & Crafts Design

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“I hold that the best purpose of a garden is to give delight and to give refreshment of mind, to soothe, to refine, and to lift up the heart in a spirit of praise and thankfulness.” Gertrude Jekyll

The formal garden of Astleham Manor Cottage was inspired by the designs of Gertrude Jekyll, who was influential in shaping garden design during the early 20th Century. The geometric layout of the garden is softened by the planting style reminiscent of old English cottage gardens. Gertrude Jekyll pioneered this approach to garden design and it came to characterise many Arts and Crafts gardens.

Gertrude Jekyll and Astleham Garden have been intricately linked by our team of volunteer gardeners, through both the layout and the plants used. The garden has heritage varieties used by Jekyll such as Iris Germanica, Lavandula Angustifolia ‘Munstead’ and Rosa ‘The Garland’.

The planting plan of Astleham Manor Cottage at Chiltern Open Air Museum.

“I rejoice when I see any one, and especially children, inquiring about flowers, and wanting gardens of their own, and carefully working in them.” Gertrude Jekyll

The garden contains plaques with quotes from Jekyll and is a perfect place to relax on a summer’s day.

Being a dedicated flower garden, it was based on Gertrude Jekyll’s principles of providing somewhere that is just a beautiful place to be, somewhere to be aware of beauty, scent and calm.  It was designed and developed in 2008/9 by Conway Rowland, the previous Estate Manager at COAM who took considerable care to adhere to Jekyll’s ideas. Typical Jekyll features include the use of low walls, rope swags and some of her favourite plants such as bergenia (elephant’s ears) and roses. 

Historic buildings Astleham Manor Cottage garden during building works at Chiltern Open Air Museum

The formal garden at Astleham Cottage is accompanied by an orchard garden containing heritage apple varieties surrounded by roses, ferns and hydrangeas.

A plan of the planting in the Astleham Orchard at Chiltern Open Air Museum
A list of the plants in the heritage garden of Astleham Manor Cottage at Chiltern Open Air Museum

Find out more about Gertrude Jekyll

Explore the other gardens at the museum.


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